For House, Garden and Earth
Places online to search for Free Stuff or to give away your stuff
Save resources and money. Below are a couple of online sources for finding people giving away free building materials, clothing, supplies, household items, toys, baby gear and whatever else you may need. You can also list your items that you'd like to get rid of. Remember, gifting, giving and passing along to the next guy is another way to save our planet. So consider reusing, recycling before storing.
Craigslist Serving many major cities in the United States. Free to post except for those seeking employees.
http://groups.yahoo.com and join Freecycle
Obtanium provides search engine and regular content to track and document free stuff that can be found on the web.
CalMax a free service that helps businesses find markets for non-hazardous materials they may have traditionally discarded.
Check out http://www.SwapThing.com
If you are going to put beds down (this may also work for new sod
-- I don't see why not), you should look at a book called "Lasagna
Gardening". This book is about a organic, no-digging approach to
gardening. Essentially what you do is take very wet newspaper or
cardboard (old boxes) -- make sure they are VERY wet and cover up
the grass. On top of that, you layer various organic components --
peat moss, compost,
manure, leaves, etc. This is why they call it "lasagna gardening" -- it's layers of stuff.
Then you cover the layers with tarps or plastic garbage bags (You can use the bags the compost and manure came in). This helps the sun to cook the layers - instant composting!!"
You can plant directly (just remove the plastic) or let it cook
for a number of weeks. Either way, you will end up with rich,
crumbly soil and tons of worms going to town. Exactly what you want.
Add nothing else to the soil -- just set up sprinklers for regular watering. Vegetable/herb garden will be amazing! Tomato plants will be tall and produce more tomatoes than you can use. The plants will be colossal and hardy - like alien plants.
Don't use pesticides or herbicides. You will have very few
bugs and few weeds. One of the principles of organic gardening is
that good soil is the key to healthy plants. If you have good soil,
you will attract good insects (worms, ladybugs, grasshoppers - all
predators of the bad bugs who kill your good plants).
Roundup will kill all the worms. Worms (and other good bugs) are needed for a thriving garden. Worms naturally do the digging for you to keep the soil aerated.
Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholemew
Small space gardening for the geeks among us.
These tips are reproduced in part from Garden/Garden 2004
Tips for Saving Water
Most people water their gardens with 5% the amount of water needed
The average Gardener applies 20% more pesticides than a farmer (EPA statistic)
Most common lawn mowers emit 11 time's the air pollution of a new car (EPA statistic)
Irrigate before 10 am and after 5 pm
Don't use water on paved areas
California Native Plant Society www.Cnps.org
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden www.rsabg.org
Theodore Payne Foundation www.theodorepayne.org
Tree of Life Nursery www.treeoflifenursery.com
Tree People www.TreePeople.com
Rain Chains www.codemo.com
Infiltration Pits www.atlantiscorp.com.au
Metropolitan Water District www.bewaterwise.com
CalMax a free service that may help you locate landscaping items for free or cheap.
The Tree People may have free tree's to offer as well. http://www.treepeople.org/
The Center for a New American Dream helps Americans consume responsibly.
The Internet Consumer Recycling Guide provides a starting point for consumers in the US and Canada searching the 'Net for recycling information.
The Consumer's Handbook for Reducing Solid Waste Reusing products outlines many practical steps to reduce the amount and toxicity of garbage.
Recyclopedia: Reuse and Recycling Resources from the Simsbury Recycling Committee.
How to Get Rid of...: This site, from the Peace & Environment Centre in Ottawa, Canada, is full of creative ideas for reusing just about anything!
Composting and Organics Recycling Site: Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.
Earth911: Extensive database on recycling options and tips for conserving energy.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for news and practical tips.
call2recycle: Nonprofit group committed to comprehensive, nationwide program to collect and recycle rechargeable batteries and cell phones. Local drop-off sites noted on their site. A portion of the proceeds goes to select charities.
We may not be aware of it, but drinking from a specialty water
bottle may be making a personal statement or
wealth statement about us that the leading water
companies are hoping that we'll want to make.
Even though these specialty water's aren't
sometimes any more beneficial to us than the
water from our own kitchen, many of us have
bought into the image and hype. Our theory
is that in the next few years, anyone carrying a
consumable plastic water bottle around will be
looked at with disgust by the newer green-living
people, much like the huge SUV and Hummer
drivers are treated with disdain today.
Plastic bottles are clogging up our landfills
and often times are not being recycled.
Tap water is free. If you don't like the
taste of your local water you can purchase a
( waterfiltercomparisons.net ) for your faucet or purchase a Brita or similar water pitcher. It's certainly cheaper than buying all of those plastic bottles. After all, you're not paying for the water (it's free in America). You're paying for the opportunity to carry around a label-rich bottle and provide them with free advertising while you sip your free water.
Turn off the lights when you leave a room like mom said.
Florescent bulbs do save a bunch of energy, but we're not a fan of the ugly yellow light they put out. Who looks good in that? If you get them, seek out the one's that put out the whitest light. Of course in storage areas and the laundry room, who cares if the lighting is yellow. www.Energystar.gov
Eat less Beef and Meat
It takes many more acres to raise a cow that feeds only a few people than it does to raise potatoes or grain that can feed hundreds or thousands.
Buy Local Vegetables / Fruits / Meats / Honey's
Foods purchased from your local producer or farmers market is not only tastier but also cheaper. Food travels shorter distances to get to you. Check out localharvest.org for markets in your area.
Buying recycled Toilet paper, paper towels, copy paper and more can save hundreds or thousands of trees over your lifetime. Isn't it worth it? See www.StopGlobalWarming.org
Plant a Tree
Visit www.Arborday.org to see which trees will work best in your climate.
Habitat for Humanity runs Salvage Stores in many communities, under the name ReStore featuring all sorts of home building items, most of which is salvaged stuff from rehabilitated homes.
Stop the Junk Mail
Subscription Services www.Greendimes.com and www.41pounds.org promise they can lighten your junk mail load. Remove your name from the lists outlined from this site and stop credit card offers, supermarket mailers etc.: http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs4-junk.htm
Regarding Pee and Poop: If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down. It's just an option.
Check out the green products like Greening the Cleaning at www.imusranchfoods.com or make your own cleansers. Vinegar, Baking Soda and lemon Juice make a handy cleanser. Other tips at: www.eartheasy.com
#1. (PET) Cardboard, Newspaper, Office paper
#2. (HDPE) plastic, aluminum, steal + glass
*Most cities recycle most valuable items that make up of our waste.
*Easiest to recycle – Clothes (reused) to charities. Aluminum cans – cleaned and melted.
* Difficult – Milk cartons, plastic, foil, tennis shoes (materials must be separated before plastic can be recycled)
Office products commonly recycled are paper (twice) corrugated, cardboards, aluminum cans.
Refrigerators are one of the biggest consumers of energy in a typical household.
To save Energy and best protect your foods, make sure that your
refrigerator and freezer temperatures are set to the proper temps.
Freezers should operate right near 0?. Refrigerators should
operate close to 40?.
Let food cool before putting it in the refrigerator so you don't force the fridge temp down.
Clean the refrigerator coils on the back of the refrigerator at least a couple or few times a year. You should turn off the fridge while cleaning.
Check the seals on fridge doors for a tight close.
When leaving for long periods of time such as for vacation, turn your water heater down to save energy.
Make sure the Water heater temp isn't set to high. An ideal temp would be 120 degrees. If you have an older dishwasher, check to see what temp the manual suggests setting the water heater at for proper use. Many newer dishwasher regulate the temperature.
Clean dishwasher filter regularly.
Ovens / Stoves
Use pots and pans that fit the burners.
The flames should not spread beyond the bottom pan surface. That's just wasted energy.
Washer / Dryers
Use cold water to rinse and wash your laundry. Unless your clothes are super dirty, it will almost always do the trick.
Using hot water for soiled diapers and other contaminated clothing is always a good idea though! Clean these items in a pre-soak load apart from other laundry so as not to contaminate other washable articles.
Window Air Conditioners
Clean your window air conditioners have filters every month to help save money and keep air cleaner.
If possible, put the window air conditioner in a north facing window to save energy.
Install and use dimmers on all lights for energy and $$ savings
Turn off lights when not in use
Install motion sensor lights where practical
Use the lowest wattage bulb possible
Use available sunlight when possible
Electronics / Computers
Replace CRT monitors with Flat Screen monitors
Replace desktop computers with Laptops which can use up to 100 more watts than a Laptop.
Replace a UPS supporting a desktop computer with a Laptop, which has a built in UPS.
Air Conditioners / Heaters
Install ceiling fans to cut down on Air conditioning.
Install a photovoltaic attic ventilator to abate heat gains.
Use low-flow shower heads.